Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Cantuccini

April 15, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 20 Comments
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cantuccini

Nick Malgieri’s Cantuccini are thinly sliced, super crisp biscotti.  I put almonds and cardamom in mine, but I bet pretty much any nut/sweet spice combo you want would work well.  Citrus zest and dried fruit would be fine additions, too.  Oh, I wonder if anyone will add chocolate?

The canutccini have to be baked twice, which takes a bit of time, but the dough itself is really quick to make.  The recipe gives “by hand” instructions, but I just tossed everything into my stand mixer.  I probably had that dough ready to go in the oven faster than I was able to make the ghetto cappuccino I dunked them into later!  Just like with the hazelnut biscotti from a couple of years back, lightly wetting your hands helps with shaping sticky dough into a log.  I wish I’d made a fatter log so I would have had cookies that looked more like the slim little half-moons in the book.

The recipe notes say that cantuccini are typically enjoyed with the sweet wine vin santo.  I’ll be looking for a bottle of that at the wine shop this afternoon, since I have lots more of these to eat up (even though I made just a third of the recipe).  For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  There’s also a version of it here.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Gingersnaps

December 17, 2013 at 10:58 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 13 Comments
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gingersnaps

Last week I was in paradise, now I’m back to reality.  I’m trying to brighten up the Brooklyn dreariness with a tree and some holiday-spiced cookies.  How convenient that David Blom’s Gingersnaps are up for TWD this week.  Cutout cookies are fun, I think.  Sticky doughs can be tricky to work with and get soft quickly, but I’ve found that rolling out dough on parchment and then chilling the rolled sheet for 10 or so minutes before punching out shapes makes the process a lot easier.

I heard that these cookies tasted more like molasses than ginger, so I doubled the spices in my batch.  I also reduced the water called for in the recipe to just 1 tablespoon, as I didn’t think the dough needed so much extra moisture.  Since I was trying to boost the spiciness, I skipped the molasses glaze and sprinkled my stars with sanding sugar instead.  While I baked these a few minutes longer than the recipe called for, they were still a little more chewy than snappy.  They never quite dried out in the center.

These may not be my ideal gingersnaps (those are from Miette, although I’ve only had them in the shop and have not tried their recipe in my own kitchen), but they were tasty enough and the recipe was small enough that I don’t mind too much.  They were good with tea.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here).  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Double Chocolate Cookies

November 19, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 18 Comments
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double chocolate cookies

Rick Katz’s Double Chocolate Cookies came along at just the right time…I have been majorly craving chocolate lately.  I’ve hardly touched the stuff in the last six months, and that’s just plain unnatural!

I knew exactly what these cookies would be like.  I’ve worked in two places where we made cookies very similar to this, method and everything (just in way bigger batches).  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if my two former chefs started with this recipe originally.  These are rich– a dark chocolate batter with extra chocolate bits mixed in (preferably a high percentage bittersweet)– and exactly the fix I was looking for.  The recipe intro calls them something like “half cookie, half brownie,” and that about sums it up.  You have to whip the heck out of the eggs and sugar when you make these, so they get that awesome brownie-like crackle shell, but they’re really soft inside.  As soon as they cool from baking, they’re pretty gooey.  But give them the better part of a day, or even overnight, and they become chewy.  So good.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also all over the Interwebs) Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies

March 19, 2013 at 1:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 20 Comments
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mocha chocolate chip cookies

I don’t think Rick Katz’s Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies are meant to be a before bed treat.  These are zippy!  Two to three tablespoons of instant coffee and a pound of chocolate may just keep you wired.  Too be honest, you could back off a bit on either of those and you’d still have a delicious chocolate chip cookie.

My dough looks dark compared to some others I saw online.  Maybe it’s because I used instant espresso instead of coffee, or because I used Billington’s molasses sugar (which is a bit stronger than regular dark brown sugar).  Anyway, I liked these a lot.  Pre-scooping the dough and then baking them straight from the fridge or freezer helps keep the cookies from spreading too much.  While I left out the suggested apricots, I used a mix of dark, milk and white chocolates because I’m crazy like that.  Also, ice cream–well, you can see what I did there.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Peggy’s Galettista Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Hazelnut Biscotti

July 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 16 Comments
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hazelnut biscotti

I’m not supposed to be home writing this post right now, but the last three days we’ve had power outages at work and closed up shop early.  Hard to work in a food business when your refrigeration is down.  I feel bad for the store owners because it’s truly a mess and they lose sales when this stuff happens, but it’s a little bonus time off for me.  Time off means time for a cookie break with Alice Medrich’s Hazelnut Biscotti!

These super-crunchy biscotti are the perfect little something on the side of a plate.  Good with coffee (naturally), ice cream or fruit.  The recipe calls for skin-on hazelnuts and has kind of a kooky method for removing the skins (just watch this video…ick).  I went a far more straight-forward route– I bought pre-blanched nuts!  I just toasted them as directed before proceeding with the dough.  A tip that worked well for many of us this week is to lightly wet your hands before shaping the dough into logs.  This helps neatly deal with the stickiness.  And I recommend slicing the cookies pretty thin after the first bake, because after the second, the cookies are so crisp that a fat cookie would be hard to bite down on.  They have proven to be good keepers, even with the heat and humidity we’ve had here this past week. 

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Jodi’s Homemade and Wholesome and Katrina’s Baking and Boys.  There’s also a video of Alice and Julia making the biscotti together.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!  I kept mine pretty plain and simple, but I’m sure there are lots of fun substitutions and biscotti variations this week.

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Hungarian Shortbread

May 1, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 20 Comments
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Hungarian shortbread

Glad I didn’t have to wait very long for TWD to choose Gale Gand’s Hungarian Shortbread…this recipe has been calling to me since I bought Baking with Julia years ago (but I was rather painfully pretending I couldn’t hear because of all the butter).   Shortbread dough with a homemade rhubarb jam layered in between– oh, come on.  Actually, I didn’t find rhubarb at the greenmarket in my neighborhood the weekend I made these, so I used it as an excuse to help clear out the fridge and went with store-bought jam instead (I used Sarabeth’s Plum Cherry).

I made half of a recipe, which worked wonderfully in an 8-inch square metal cake pan (I prepped it with parchment first).  The dough is pretty cinchy to layer in the pan because you freeze it and grate it….then just sprinkle the grated dough fluff right in and pat without really pressing much.  I grated my dough the old-fashioned way, but I hear a food processor works great, too. I figured my store-bought jam would likely be sweeter than a homemade rhubarb one, so I cut back on the sugar in the shortbread just a tad to compensate.  Then I added in a splash of vanilla and bumped up the salt with an extra pinch.  I didn’t want the bottom layer to be rawsies (which can sometimes happen with multilayered bar cookies), so I decided to par bake the bottom crust before adding jam and top layers.  Twenty minutes in the oven was enough to make the bottom layer look set but not browned, which was all I was going for.

I went to Budapest back in the nineties, but I didn’t have anything like this.  I’m certain I would remember, because these are really delicious (so don’t feel bad at all if you want to skip the homemade filling and use jam from the shops).  And they hold up very well refrigerated, as I can assure you, since it takes us days for the two of us to get through an 8-inch pan.  In fact, I wound up freezing the last couple of pieces before my husband and I went out of town for our anniversary this past weekend (nine years– what?!?), and they were perfect after they defrosted to room temp…even the powdered sugar on top was still intact!

Hungarian shortbread

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Lynette’s 1smallkitchen and Cher’s The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler…  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Rugelach

March 6, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 42 Comments
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rugelach

This week, Tuesdays with Dorie is celebrating Purim with Lauren Groveman’s Rugelach!  (I know it should be hamentaschen, but that one’s not in the book.)  Anyway, we made rugelach in the last round of the group, but that was years ago now, so I was more than ready to make them again this past weekend.  This version’s quite different, as it turns out.  Most noticeably, these rugalach are round spirals, not cresent-shaped.  They’re formed from slice-and-bake-style rolled logs.  And they are stuffed–almost bursting– with good things.  Things like cinnamon sugar, nuts, dried fruits and apricot or prune lekvar (a thick jam/fruit butter).  I went with walnuts, golden raisins and prune butter.

What with making the cream cheese dough and prepping the list of fillings, this recipe has a lot of steps, but you can make it a little easier on yourself if you want.  I made my dough the night before, and toasted my walnuts then, too, since I already had the oven on for dinner.  The one big shortcut I took was that I used a plum butter that I had bought at the Grenemarket in place of making my own lekvar.  I’d had that little jar of plum butter open in the refrigerator for months, so I was glad for the excuse to finish it off.  It was the consistency of a thick prune paste, anyway, so I thought it would work perfectly, and in fact any thick store-bought jam would likely do just fine.  Also, I admit I didn’t measure anything related to the fillings.  I used good judgement and eyeballed it all.  I also eyeballed the amount of filling I put into each dough roll-up.  I know when enough’s enough and I didn’t want my spirals to unravel or explode.

These taste great.  The flavors are big and warm, so I’m glad we made them while it’s still chilly where I live.  They’re thick cut, so they’re nice and sturdy.  And I am in love with the prune swirls…it looks like a letter “C” in each cookie.  So cute that even though the cookies are supposed to be completely coated in cinnamon-nut sugar, I didn’t want to hide the tops.  Instead kept the sugar concentrated on the outside of the cookies and just sprinkled a bit on top.

Here are my rugelach pointers: With all the cream cheese in the dough, it gets soft fast, so I didn’t hesitate to left it have a rest in the fridge at different stages of rolling and filling.  The dough rolls up best if the chunky things like nuts and dried fruit are chopped pretty fine.  When these guys bake, there’s a lot of jam and sugar that gets caramelized on their bottoms, and it’s best to get them off the baking sheet and onto a cooling rack as soon as you can so they don’t get stuck.  They’re sturdy enough to handle almost right out of the oven.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Margaret’s The Urban Hiker and Jessica’s My Baking Heart, as they are co-hosting this week. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.

P.S.: For something totally unrelated, enter my BOOK GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a copy of Marshmallow Madness!

TWD Rewind: Chocolate Biscotti

January 31, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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chocolate biscotti

Today was a warm and beautiful day (what a strange winter we’ve been having over here).  Too bad I was mostly unaware of it because I work in a basement, but at least I had a nice walk home.  And now that the sun is about to set, I think I’ll plop on the couch next to an open window and watch Downton Abbey (oh, please tell me you love it, too!) while drinking tea and eating crunchy biscuits.  I’m quite certain that Mrs. Patmore didn’t make Chocolate Biscotti for the Crawleys, but I bet these are tastier than the whatever dry cookies went into the biscuit jar in those days.  These are full of flavor.  I contrasted the dark cocoa and espresso base with chunks of white chocolate and macadamia nuts.  Mmmm…they sliced and baked nicely and are good keepers, too.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Daisy Lane Cakes, as it was Jacque’s pick back in June.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Kids’ Thumbprints

December 27, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 29 Comments
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kids' thumbprints

So here is it…the last recipe TWD is baking as a group from Baking: From My Home to Yours. I’ve been in the group for close to four years, close to 200 recipes. It’s kind of hard for me to imagine that we are here at the finish line, and I almost don’t know what to say.  It’s very true that my week-to-week posts are not as wordy as they were at first, but I have still have been baking (and eating) with the same enthusiasm.  I bake professionally, but, as much as enjoy it, it is so much more satisfying to fire up the oven at home and bake for people I know and love. So, thank you, Dorie for your big, beautiful book of recipes, stories and kitchen wisdom.  My husband thanks you, too, btw…that guy has gotten quite accustomed to homemade cake and cookies!  Thank you, Laurie for your brilliant idea to start this group and to Julie for keeping it running like clockwork.  And thanks to my fellow bakers for leaving so many nice comments over the last four years and always being quick to lend advice and suggestions.  You have been so much fun to bake with and get to know!

Boy, I am talking like we are all done here, or maybe like I have just won an Oscar, and neither of those things are true.  Starting in February, TWD is switching to a different Dorie book, the classic Baking with Julia.  New members are very welcome, so if you want to join the fun you have a whole month to get the book and get on board!  And while we’re on hiatus in January, I’ll definitely be posting a least a few rewinds for the handful of BFMHTY recipes I’ve missed along the way.

I almost forgot that there are cookies to talk about!  These Thumbprints feature the classic kids’ flavor combo (which I have never outgrown), PB&J.  A peanut-coated shortbread-style cookie holds a dollop of yummy jam in the middle.  Here, I used the concord grape jam I made back in the fall.  These were good cookies, and they served as my Christmas cookies (since they were the only cookies I made).  I have some more unfilled doughballs in the freezer, and I think when I bake those I will try filling them with some chocolate in the center.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or stop by Dorie’s blog since she is our host for this last week.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie (on Friday!): Mini Madeleines

November 11, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, cookies & bars, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 2 Comments
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mini madeleines

OK, Tuesday has come and gone (happy 11/11/11, by the way), but I did bake both of this week’s TWD recipes, so I wanted to show you my Mini Madeleines as well. Better late than never, right?  I like madeleines…so much that I got a little greedy and swiped one from my photo session…oops.

Good reasons to make madeleines include:
*Little cakes that disguise themselves as shell-shaped cookies– how cute!
*A batter that’s hand-whisked and allowed to rest for as long as a couple of days– how easy!
*A soft crumb that you can flavor a zillion different ways– how tasty!
*Less than ten minutes of baking time– how energy efficient!  (alright, that’s a stretch)

If you’ve avoided making them because you don’t have the traditional madeleine baking pan, I’m pretty sure a mini muffin tin would make a fine substitute.  I browned my butter for these and used lots of lemon zest.  They had great flavor and were nice with chamomile tea.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Di’s Kitchen Notebook Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

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